Over the last 12 months, Braden Schneider has been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, won a silver medal at the World Juniors for Canada, suited up in the AHL, signed a contract with the New York Rangers and captained the Brandon Wheat Kings to a WHL East Division title.
Now the 19-year-old blueliner from Prince Albert can add a gold medal to that list as he was part of Canada’s winning side at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia on Sunday.
Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul converted a feed from Connor Brown at the 6:26 mark of the first overtime period to give Canada a 3-2 triumph over Finland, which earned the country their 27th world title and their first since 2016.
“We made it a little closer than we wanted it to be, but it was an unbelievable and hard-fought game,” Paul said. “I’m just super proud of the guys right now.”
Brown, who also plays for the Senators, had three assists in the final and led the event in scoring with 16 points.
Anaheim Ducks teammates Maxime Comtois and Adam Henrique also scored in the triumph, which saw Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper stop 29 shots.
“It’s special to help lead this group all the way to gold,” said Henrique, who was the captain for Canada. “I’m sure a lot of people counted us out early on in the tournament (after Canada started 0-3) but we kept believing in ourselves and we stuck with it all the way.”
Andrew Mangiapane of the Calgary Flames was held without a point in the final but earned tournament MVP honours after posting 11 points in seven games.
Schneider, who was the seventh defenceman for most of the event, finished up the competition with an assist in nine games.
Mikael Ruohomaa and former St. Louis Blues forward Petteri Lindbohm found the back of the net for Finland, who were looking to win their second straight world title.
Denver Pioneers alumni Jussi Olkinuora made 23 saves in a losing effort.
Earlier in the day, the United States captured the bronze medal with a convincing 6-1 victory over Germany.
Coyotes forward Conor Garland had a goal and two assists to lead the way for the Americans, who reached the podium for the first time since 2018.